Motion for a resolution - B9-0418/2022Motion for a resolution
B9-0418/2022

MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION on the EU’s response to the increase in energy prices in Europe

28.9.2022 - (2022/2830(RSP))

to wind up the debate on the statements by the Council and the Commission
pursuant to Rule 132(2) of the Rules of Procedure

Paolo Borchia, Jean‑Paul Garraud, Thierry Mariani, Nicolaus Fest, Markus Buchheit, Gerolf Annemans
on behalf of the ID Group

Procedure : 2022/2830(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected :  
B9-0418/2022
Texts tabled :
B9-0418/2022
Debates :
Texts adopted :

B9‑0418/2022

European Parliament resolution on the EU’s response to the increase in energy prices in Europe

(2022/2830(RSP))

The European Parliament,

 having regard to Articles 192 and 194 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU),

 having regard to the Commission communication of 14 July 2021 entitled ‘“Fit for 55”: delivering the EU’s 2030 Climate Target on the way to climate neutrality’ (COM(2021)0550) and the related legislative proposals,

 having regard to the Commission communication of 18 May 2022 on the REPowerEU Plan (COM(2022)0230),

 having regard to the Commission communication of 8 July 2020 entitled ‘A hydrogen strategy for a climate-neutral Europe’ (COM(2020)0301),

 having regard to the Commission communication of 20 July 2022 entitled ‘Save gas for a safe winter’ (COM(2022)0360),

 having regard to Council Regulation (EU) 2022/1369 of 5 August 2022 on coordinated demand-reduction measures for gas[1],

 having regard to the proposal for a Council Regulation on an emergency intervention to address high energy prices (COM(2022)0473),

 having regard to the opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee of 21 September 2022 on the REPowerEU Plan,

 having regard to Rule 132(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

A. whereas energy prices started rising in the second half of 2021, partly as a result of the EU’s Green Deal policies; whereas Russia’s aggression against Ukraine has triggered a further escalation in electricity prices to the detriment of consumers and industry, creating a major risk for the economy;

B. whereas the increase in gas prices, together with the sharp rise in the price of CO2 on the emissions trading system (ETS) market, as a consequence of the recent and more challenging decarbonisation targets (-55 % by 2030) linked to the ‘Green Deal’, has led to a sharp increase in the price of electricity;

C. whereas high energy prices have a particularly serious impact on the poorest households;

D. whereas the Member States are committed to the principle of unanimity in the Council for tax matters; whereas a tax on surplus profits has been introduced in 10 Member States;

E. whereas the Commission’s proposal caps the selling prices of renewable and nuclear electricity suppliers at EUR 180 per MWh;

F. whereas the Commission’s proposal requires Member States to impose a minimum 33 % tax on the share of profits made by companies in the fossil fuel sector (gas, oil, coal, refining) that exceed the average for the three financial years preceding 2022 by more than 20 %;

G. whereas Member States have taken action since the second half of 2021 with various economic support measures to ensure the resilience of their industrial and social sectors;

H. whereas the European Union, following Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, has adopted seven packages of sanctions against Russia, and these are severely impacting the economies of all Member States;

I. whereas gas is currently the primary energy source in several Member States and will necessarily continue to represent a crucial technology in the coming years;

J. whereas the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine has made the EU more aware of the geopolitical risks stemming from dependence on suppliers of commodities and the need to increase diversification;

K. whereas Member States are free to choose their energy mix;

L. whereas the transition to a ‘clean energy system’ will result in strong demand for key minerals and rare earth elements, thereby increasing the risk of making the EU dependent on external suppliers and exposing the Union to new forms of vulnerability;

M. whereas the Commission’s proposal introduces a compulsory 5 % reduction in energy consumption at peak times and an optional 15 % reduction in gas consumption;

1. Underlines the failure of the energy policies pursued by the vast majority of governments of the Member States and the Union in past decades;

2. Recalls that energy abundance is a sign of affluent societies and the progress of civilisation; deplores the deliberate destruction of the energy sector in the EU by imposing the energy transition and various moratoriums on energy production from certain sources;

3. Expresses its solidarity with the citizens of the Member States who are suffering the consequences of the failed energy policies of the past, most importantly citizens who can no longer afford the energy they need; is concerned by the lack of policy measures that genuinely address the imminent danger of energy poverty; is appalled by the lack of imaginative policies to address foreseeable energy shortages and blackouts in the coming cold period, with the response mainly consisting of calls on citizens to prepare for the worst and refrain from protesting;

4. Expresses great concern about the exceptional measures such as natural gas rationing and reduced electricity output at peak times because they may lead to further critical situations for industry, which has already been put under strain by the pandemic crisis, and for households, especially those on low and middle incomes that have fewer opportunities to access more efficient domestic energy solutions;

5. Rejects the Commission’s attempts to use yet another crisis to which it has significantly contributed for a power grab;

Structural policy changes

6. Calls, in the long term, for a redesign of the entire framework of energy policies in order to ensure abundant energy, low energy prices and a prospering economy built on the efficient use of all technically available energy sources;

7. Stresses that a proper diversification of the energy supply means not ruling out the use of any energy source; underlines that energy imports should not be made dependent on exporters having a similar political system or shared values;

8. Urges the Member States to speed up the diversification of supply routes and the construction of strategic infrastructure; regrets the decisions taken in past decades to reduce investments in domestic oil and gas production;

9. Calls for increased production of biomethane and a resumption of domestic prospecting for natural gas; calls for the adoption of a raw materials policy that revitalises the mining industry in the EU so as to avoid dependence on external suppliers;

10. Calls for the protection and empowerment of European production chains, such as by supporting their conversion and promoting the development of new industrial sector supply chains with domestic production capacity;

11. Stresses, therefore, that while pursuing the development of solar and wind power, support must also be given to other sustainable technologies such as bioenergy, hydroelectricity and geothermal power, which ensure the production of electricity from renewable and domestic resources with net zero emissions while facilitating scheduling;

12. Calls on the Member States to strengthen the financial and administrative tools and simplify the procedures for the renovation of public buildings with a view to their energy requalification and the safeguarding of public heritage, especially public housing, health, education, justice and sports facilities;

Short-term alleviation policies

13. Encourages the Member States to immediately address the situation brought about by skyrocketing energy prices; proposes that Member States make use of the reduced VAT rate on electricity, gas, petrol and oil bills and on the supply of heat to end users through district heating, as well as on supplies of thermal energy; regrets the fact that some Member States favour a policy of targeted aid a posteriori rather than a reduction in energy taxation;

14. Calls on the Member States to pay particular attention to the lowest-income households and businesses, especially small and medium-sized enterprises, which tend to be the largest consumers of energy, in order to mitigate the social consequences of the current crisis;

15. Highlights the need to ensure a predictable and stable regulatory framework that allows competition to function properly, while ensuring consumers’ access to electricity and gas supplies at guaranteed prices;

16. Stresses the importance of decoupling the price of electricity from that of gas in order to avoid excessive volatility and high prices;

17. Recognises the sovereignty of Member States in tax matters, including the right to tax the surplus profits of oil, gas, coal and refinery companies, as they and their shareholders have benefited from rising prices; calls on national legislators to take account of existing national legislation on the taxation of surplus profits in order to avoid inconsistencies;

18. Suggests that Member States implement effective public information campaigns on energy awareness to encourage more rational use of energy (energy saving and energy efficiency) and to guide citizens in the energy market;

19. Highlights the need to evaluate and monitor the ETS market to curb speculation in emission allowances;

Union proposals

20. Notes that there are contradictions and tensions between the various texts currently proposed by the Commission in the energy field, such as the revision of the Energy Taxation Directive[2], which will automatically increase the cost of energy for consumers;

21. Calls for the immediate suspension of implementation of the ‘Fit for 55’ legislation until the Commission publishes thorough updated impact assessments, in particular with regard to strengthening the CO2 emission performance standards for new passenger cars and new light commercial vehicles;

22. Calls on the Council and the Commission to verify the correct application of the different legal bases, since some of the Commission’s legislative proposals concern taxation, which has a specific legal basis;

23. Insists that it is inconsistent to penalise Member States or sectors with low CO2 emissions by imposing a cap on the price at which a MWh of gas and/or electricity may be sold, as proposed by the Commission;

24. Stresses that these are essentially fiscal measures, requiring unanimous adoption by the Member States after Parliament has delivered its opinion, in accordance with the procedure laid down in Articles 192(2)(c) and 194(3) TFEU; insists on the need for these measures to remain temporary in nature to avoid their influencing the freedom of Member States to determine their energy mix, in breach of Article 194 TFEU;

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25. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council and to the Commission.

 

Last updated: 29 September 2022
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